Hakimi seizes the moment and delivers Moroccan exuberance

Hakimi seizes the second and delivers Moroccan exuberance

Host nation: Qatar Date: November 20-December 18 Reporting: Dwell on BBC TV, BBC iPlayer, BBC Radio 5 Dwell, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, BBC Sounds and BBC Sport web site and app. Day-to-day TV listingsFull protection particulars

In one of the nerve-wracking eventualities the World Cup can throw at a participant, all Morocco wanted was their star man to ship the telling blow to Spain.

After 120 minutes of nail-biting soccer and two profitable penalties, the press second fell to Achraf Hakimi, the Spanish-born ex-Actual Madrid right-back, who might properly have turned out for the nation of his beginning had issues gone in a different way.

However the 24-year-old had chosen his legacy and now had the load of duty for a nation on his younger shoulders, figuring out that factors would take his aspect by way of to their first World Cup quarter-final.

The defender stepped up and casually delivered a dunk into the center of the aim to spark scenes of untamed jubilation – earlier than emotionally celebrating the 3-0 shootout victory along with his mom within the stands.

Morocco turn out to be solely the fourth African staff – and the primary Arab nation – to succeed in the final eight stage after Cameroon in 1990, Senegal in 2002 and Ghana in 2010. None of these sides have ever gone additional.

After the sport, Morocco supervisor Walid Regragui stated: “It is a large efficiency and so they had been all patched up, all of them confirmed enormous dedication.

“We knew we had super assist behind us and we took the vitality from giving that efficiency tonight.”

Such was their efficiency, Regragui acquired a telephone name from the King of Morocco, Mohammed VI, after the match.

“It is extraordinary for a Moroccan to get that decision,” Regragui stated. “He all the time encourages us and he offers us recommendation and he urges us to present it our all.

“His message is all the time the identical, he is pleased with the gamers and he is pleased with us and in consequence we wish to go even additional and do even higher subsequent time.”

Morocco followers ‘love the nation’

Hakimi’s telling strike was outrageous, a cool ‘Panenka’ that left Spain goalkeeper Unai Simon on one knee because the ball sailed previous him in sluggish movement.

However the Paris St-Germain defender wouldn’t have had the chance to make himself a hero had goalkeeper Yaccine Bounou not saved two penalties and Pablo Sarabia hit the publish, with Adbelhamid Sabiri and Hakim Ziyech changing to place the nation 2-0 up.

Morocco had schooled Spain on spot-kicks after which celebrations ensued, gamers working wildly across the pitch, Chelsea’s Ziyech hoisted onto a team-mate’s shoulders.

In style coach Regragui, who was solely appointed in September, was thrown into the air by his sensible gamers.

“I believe it is not possible you do it with out these followers,” Regragui stated. “They arrive to the resort, need tickets, many followers got here to Qatar to assist the staff, from America, from Europe and Morocco.

“They love the nation and what I can inform them is that we have not carried out something. I would like them for the quarter-finals however I am very pleased with my followers and my folks.”

“Nobody believed, we believed”

The celebration passed off within the Moroccan capital Rabat

Morocco had been enormous underdogs on this sport and so they knew it.

They caught to their sport plan by sitting again with a resolute and compact protection that allowed only one Spain shot heading in the right direction, at the same time as Luis Enrique’s aspect tried to play the opposition into submission with over a thousand tried passes.

Regragui’s males had been pushed on by their vociferous followers, outdoing the Spanish with music, dance and jeers for the total 120 minutes.

The pocket of Spanish followers behind the aim is not going to solely depart with their hearts damaged, however with their eardrums ringing for the remainder of the evening.

Skipper Romain Saiss represented Morocco’s spirit and performed on with a pulled hamstring. West Ham’s Nayef Aguerd was enormous earlier than he limped off injured, whereas midfielder Sofyan Amrabat struggled and fumbled all through the sport.

Regragui added: “[Spain are] among the best groups on this planet, if not the very best. We could not play too excessive up the pitch as a result of that is what they wished us to do.

“We had been affected person and knew that if we received there we had an opportunity with among the best goalkeepers on this planet. We fought for it.”

Former Scotland winger Pat Nevin stated on BBC Radio 5 Dwell: “You’ll be able to’t say Morocco do not deserve it. The struggle, the spirit after which the heart throughout that shootout.

“What a historic second. You’ll be able to see and really feel how a lot it means to this nation. Nobody would have thought they may come this far.”

Joyous Morocco fan Azam, who celebrated exterior the stadium, informed BBC Sport: “No person believed, we believed. We imagine we will win once more too.

“This staff are heroes. We love them and so they can get to the semi-finals, then the ultimate, then they will raise the World Cup. We weren’t afraid of Spain. They’ve the ball, we have now the win.

“The celebration in Morocco can be such as you’ve by no means seen. Will probably be unimaginable. Just like the celebration right here.”

And he was proper. There have been jubilant scenes within the capital Rabat as they stay up for one other shock on Saturday once they face 2016 European champions Portugal.

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